Category Archives: @TheBigHurt_35

TODAY (NOV. 10) IN SOX HISTORY: WELCOME PAULIE & BILLY, CONGRATS FRANK

Billy Pierce and Paul Konerko acquired … Frank Thomas voted MVP … Nov. 10 May be the greatest day in the off-season history of the Chicago White Sox.

And this isn’t even counting the birthday of Jimmy Dkyes in 1899.

Dykes was the greatest third baseman in Sox history until Robin Ventura came along and went on to manage and win more games than any other bench boss in franchise history.

Because Konerko led the White Sox to a World Series, I rank his acquisition as the most signficant event on this date followed by the Pierce pickup and Frank’s MVP.

The only thing that could make this day any more noteworthy was that if we all opened our newsfeeds to “Sox sign …”

Here’s a look at this day in White Sox history in my order of significance …

1998: PAULIE ARRIVES

On this date in 1998, the White Sox picked up Konerko from the Cincinnati Reds for outfielder Mike Cameron.

This deal started out as an exchange of emerging and somewhat puzzling prospects but soon morphed into one of the greatest trades in the 118-year history of the White Sox. This despite the fact that Cameron did evolve into one of he more exciting players in the game for a time.

However, it took another trade for Cameron to blossom while Konerko became a fixture and a legend on the Southside.

“Paulie” immediately endeared himself to Sox fans by homering in his debut with the club on Opening Day 1999 in Seattle.

Konerko steadily won the respect of the Sox faithful until he became an all-out icon in 2005 when he led the team to its first World Series title since 1917. He played a huge part in that run with a stellar regular season, the MVP Award in the American League Championship Series and, of course, the grand slam in Game 2 of the World Series sweep of Houston.

His career with the Sox culminated when his No. 14 was retired by the Sox in 2015.

On Konerko Day, Paulie referred to Sox fans as his “friends” thus cementing his spot on the franchise’s Mount Rushmore for eternity.

Billy Pierce never turned down a request for an autograph

1948: PIERCE COMES ABOARD

On this date in 1948, the Sox executed one of the great trades in franchise history when they grabbed Pierce (along with $10,000), a left-handed pitcher, from the Detroit Tigers for catcher Aaron Robinson.

It was the first trade executed by general manager Frank Lane and it couldn’t have gone any better.

Pierce went on to become one of the best White Sox pitchers ever and was honored as such when his No. 19 was retired in 1987. Robinson, meanwhile, was a regular for only two seasons and his non-descript career ended after the 1951 campaign.

Pierce was a rock during the White Sox’s “Go Go” era, winning 186 games with a club-record 1,796 strikeouts between 1949 and 1961.

A four-time All-Star (and three-time starter), the Detroit native was a two-time 20-game winner, led the A.L. in strikeouts in 1953 and in complete games in each season between 1956 and 1958 and ERA in 1955 (1.97).

The class act is also remembered for his rivalry with the Yankees’ Whitey Ford during the 1950s. The aces went head-to-head frequently between 1953 and 1960 many times in front of packed houses in the Bronx or at Comiskey Park. Pierce went 8-6 against Ford and was victorious in his last three matchups against the future Hall of Famer.

Pierce’s best game may have come June 27, 1958 when he retired 26 consecutive Washington Senators before 11,300 at Comiskey Park. Pinch-hitter Ed Fitzgerald ruined Pierce’s date with destiny and denied him just the second perfect game in Sox annals by delivering a double to right field. Pierce struck out the next batter to notch the 3-0 complete game victory.

Following the 1961 season, Pierce was shipped to San Francisco in a six-player deal. He pitched three years with the Giants before retiring after the 1964 season.

One of the nicest people ever to don the Sox yarns, Pierce, who died in 2015, remained one of the most popular figures at Comiskey Park in retirement.

1993: IT’S UNANIMOUS … FRANK IS THE BEST!

Frank Thomas put a capper on his monster 1993 campaign when he was unanimously voted the American League’s Most Valuable Player in results released on this date by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Thomas  joined Nellie Fox (1959) and Dick Allen (1972) as the only Sox players to win this award.

The “Big Hurt” became just the 10th big leaguer to win the award unanimously and the first since the A’s Jose Canseco did it in 1988.

Let’s face it, this award was a signal to the world that Thomas was one of the elite performers in the game.

It was an amazing season for the disciplined Thomas, who played 150 games at first base in leading the White Sox to the American League West Division title.

Thomas hit .317 with a club-record 41 home runs and 128 RBIs and logged an amazing 112 walks against just 54 strikeouts. Thomas finished sixth in the A.L. in average, third and home runs and second in RBIs.

Advertisements

TODAY IN SOX HISTORY … MUSSOLINI, SWEEPS, NO. 400 FOR FRANK AND MORE!

Frank Thomas takes a curtain call after hitting his 400th homer on this date in 2003 (screen shot).

My dad’s birth in 1930 wasn’t the only eventful moment in White Sox history that happened on this date.

Take a look …

1937, THE STRATTON SPLIT: The White Sox split a doubleheader with the Yankees before 50,000 at Comiskey Park. The Yankees took the opener 12-11 behind two homers from Bill Dickey and a game-winner from Joe DiMaggio. The Sox took the nightcap scoring three in the eighth and one in the ninth with Monty Stratton, who was later portrayed in a movie by Jimmy Stewart, getting the victory.

1943, A WIN AND THEN SOME GOOD NEWS: After the White Sox won the first game 2-1, the nightcap of their doubleheader was interrupted with the announcement at “Mussolini has resigned.” The crowd of 19,374 cheered wildly over the news that the Italian dictator was finished. The Yankees won the game 6-3 after Bill Dietrich got the victory for the Sox in Game 1.1954, 16 Ks SO HE WAS HARSH, MAN: Jack Harshman set the club record with 16 strikeouts in the White Sox 5-2 win in the first game of a doubleheader sweep at Boston. Harshman gave up two runs on five hits and five walks in improving to 7-4. Harshman, a lefty, broke the record previously held by Ed Cicotte (Aug. 26, 1914), Jim Scott (June 22, 1913) and Ed Walsh (Aug. 11, 1910 and Oct. 2, 1908). He struck out at least one batter in every inning but the eighth and he whiffed the side in order in the second and seventh innings and also in the fourth.

1959, 17 INNINGS! The White Sox edged the Baltimore Orioles 3-2 in 17 innings before 12,562 at Comiskey Park thanks to an RBI single by the oft-traded Harry “Suitcase” Simpson. Sherm Lollar tied the game with a homer to leadoff the ninth.

1967, TWO WALKOFFS: J.C. Martin and Ken Berry each hit walkoff homers to key the first-place White Sox to a doubleheader sweep of Cleveland before 18,152 at Comiskey Park. This marked the first time in American League history a team had swept a doubleheader with a pair of game-ending home runs.

1971, UP ON THE ROOF: White Sox catcher Tom Egan launched his only roof-shot homer at Comiskey Park in the second game of a doubleheader sweep of Washington before 24,318 on the South Side.

1972, ALL-STAR ALLEN: Dick Allen started at first base in becoming the first Sox representative to bat cleanup in an All-Star Game. Allen went 0-for-3 in the American League’s 4-3 loss in in Atlanta.

1987, NOs. 16 & 19 FOREVER: On the day No. 16 was retired for Hall of Famer Ted Lyons and No. 19 was retired for team legened Billy Pierce, the White Sox topped the Yankees 3-2 before 26,433 at Comiskey Park.

1996, DOMINANT ROBERTO: Roberto Hernandez turned in one of the most dominating performances by a Sox reliever in recent memory in a 4-3 loss to the Texas Rangers in 12 innings before 19,524 at Comiskey Park. Hernandez came on in the ninth and fanned all six of the batters he faced, falling one K shy of the club record. Hernandez threw 26 pitches, 19 of which were strikes.

1998, THE BOMB IN THE BRONX: Mike Sirotka disappointed an Old-Timers’ Day crowd of 55,638 at Yankee Stadium with six strong innings in the White Sox 6-2 win. This was the largest gathering to witness a Sox win since Oct. 3, 1993 when 72,390 watched the Southsiders defeat the Indians in Cleveland.

2001, NO. 8,000: Paul Konerko launched the 8,000th home run in White Sox history in a 7-5 loss at Cleveland. Konerko’s milestone blast came in the second inning.

2003, NO. 400 FOR FRANK: Frank Thomas’ 400th homer helped the White Sox stomp Tampa Bay 7-2 before 22,617 at US Cellular Field. Thomas became the 36th player in big league history to reach that milestone. Esteban Loaiza earned his 13th win and Carlos Lee also homered in the victory.

COUNTDOWN TO WHITE SOX OPENING DAY: 53 DAYS

53 days to White Sox Opening Day!

Hit No. 53 in Frank Thomas’ career led to save No. 53 of 1990 for Bobby Thigpen.

On Sept. 23, 1990, “Big Frank’s” fifth homer — career hit No. 53 — gave the Sox lead for good in the eighth inning of a 2-1 win at Seattle.

After rookie Alex Fernandez (making his 11th big league start following his drafting in June) got through the eighth, Thigpen capped a scoreless ninth by fanning Ken Griffey Jr. to notch his 53rd of 57 saves during that magical renaissance season of 1990.

COUNTDOWN TO WHITE SOX OPENING DAYS: 58 DAYS

58 days until White Sox Opening Day!

Hit No. 58 of Frank Thomas’ Hall of Fame career was the final White Sox home run at Comiskey Park.

On Sept. 28, 1990, “The Big Hurt” went deep off Randy Johnson in the seventh inning in Seattle’s 13-4 win before 37,662 fans in the first game of the final series at the old park.

COUNTDOWN TO WHITE SOX OPENING DAY: 93 DAYS!

93 days until Opening Day, White Six fans!

Home run No. 93 of Frank Thomas’ Hall of Fame career may have been his most dramatic of the Sox ‘93 West Division title season.

On Aug. 13, Frank’s two-run home run in the eighth inning lifted the Sox to a 5-4 come-from-behind win over Kansas City before a jacked up gathering of 34,272 at Comiskey Park.

After Steve Sax fired up the crowd with three sparkling plays at second base in the top of the inning, Ron Karkovice ignited the rally with a double and then scored on Warren Newson’s pinch single. Thomas then sent a 1-0 pitch by Royals’ closer Jeff Montgomery into the left-field bleachers.

The victory enabled the Sox to open a 3.5-game lead over the Royals in the A.L. West.